Mark Whittle picks out two key talking points as Rovers fall to defeat against Preston North End…
Deflating derby defeat for desperate Rovers
As I write this piece, I am sure I feel like every other Rovers supporter right now, deflated after defeat to local rivals Preston North End.
What is more disappointing was the manner of the performance, especially in the first half. Rovers started the game poorly and never got going from the first whistle, something that we have seen far too often. Preston and Neil looked as though they had a formation and game plan, whereas Rovers and Mowbray did not seem to. Our tactics left all supporters watching baffled.
Even some of the players looked to be confused of what was being asked of them – most notably Sam Gallagher dropping to right back when Nyambe was substituted (again) before being replaced himself as he left the field a frustrated figure.
What we saw was confusing and desperate. I do not think any of us know what our identity is right now. We certainly do not know what our formation is meant to be in many of our matches.
Yes, you could argue we have had bad luck with injuries and illness this season, but we never have a settled side or know what the team is going to be from one game to the next and seemingly Mowbray will always make five substitutions without any substance or plan. It is all more hope than anything else. We know consistency has been a problem for some time, but what is more worrying is that Rovers now look loss of any ideas and the performances that we saw earlier in the season are no longer there. We are not creating chance after chance or being clinical in front of goal as we once were. The killer instinct has apparently left us. Frailties at the back have not completely eradicate themselves either – an issue that has been ongoing more times than I care to think of.
It is a case of one step forward, two steps back. As soon as we get to within touching distance of getting in to the top six play-off positions, Rovers bottle it. After an impressive January, now was yet another opportunity to kick on, but a disappointing defeat at QPR last weekend followed by the Preston defeat feels a little bit like we are going backwards. Hopefully, that is not the case.
Upcoming fixtures are difficult though, Barnsley and Nottingham Forest away are tricky games. If Rovers do not pick up many points in those games, we start to drift into lower mid-table territory yet again – and maybe this time to stay there.
Rovers and Mowbray need fresh ideas and quickly.
Mowbray In or Mowbray Out – that is the question
There is no doubt the question every Rovers fan is asking each other on all social media platforms – is it Mowbray In or Mowbray Out? We have all got our own opinion on that and questions must be asked as to whether Rovers are simply under-achieving with the players/investment we have had in the last few seasons under Mowbray. This season was always going to be a crucial one for Rovers and a feeling of ‘last chance saloon’ to get into the play-offs and probably our best and only chance to get into the Premier League. The club does feel a little bit in limbo currently with a lot of player contracts still to be resolved. Mowbray himself set the target for a top six finish this season and in his own words suggested anything else but that would be deemed as failure.
It would have been remarkably interesting to see the Ewood faithful reaction at the full-time whistle against Preston if fans were allowed back inside the ground. I do feel as though Mowbray is under a lot of pressure and he will probably know that. He seemed as frustrated as we did in his post-match interview after the Preston match. He simply cares about the football club.
Tony Mowbray has done a lot of good for this football club, but there is a danger that things are going stale. I believe that we all must look at the bigger picture and I have always remained of the opinion that everything at the football club needs to be reviewed in the summer – including the management team. However, as the saying goes, be careful of what you wish for!
As always stay safe and thanks for reading.